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My name is...Gene Haas

Sociologist, scientist and skier


A ‘plain’ perspective

I moved to Loveland from Ohio in 1967 after I got a job offer, 10 years after I originally applied for one here. I’ve lived in Parker for 30 years. I was very happy at Ohio State, but I had traveled through Colorado several times and I always wanted to live here. The scenery, the people, the skiing, the beauty of the mountains, I was just totally in love with the state.

I was on the faculty at Ohio State University in the sociology department and I cofounded the Disaster Research Center. I traveled the world gathering data to study human responses to natural disasters. At one point, I held an advisory position with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

I grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in a subgroup of the Mennonites, similar to the Amish. We could have cars, but not much else. We were referred to as “The Plain People.”

Changes, for better or worse

One piece of technology that impresses me are recorders, like the ones on people’s phones. When I was traveling and researching in places like Japan, we had to drag a big reel-to-reel recorder everywhere. Even the tapes were heavy.

I am very concerned about climate change. If you care about the future, something has to be done about it.

One social change I’ve seen in my time that makes me optimistic is that women, slowly, are getting a chance to be treated equally. I have two daughters, and my youngest daughter was just selected as Lawyer of the Year for 2017 by the Best Lawyers group.

There are more women than men entering law and medical school. For 52 to 53 percent of the population, these are important things.

Staying in the game

The obvious secret to longevity is to get good genes. Other than that, I’d say set some goals and do your best to accomplish them.

And be very competitive, like I am. I enjoy skiing. I skied all 24 Colorado resorts at the age of 70, and I did it again at 80. When I’m playing pickleball or tennis, I love to play for the fun of it, but I also like to win occasionally, as you can see by my medals.

Reading is another hobby — I can’t have breakfast if I don’t have something to read. I also garden and I grow more than 60 rosebushes. The beauty of seeing them develop and produce flowers is really something.

Any plant or tree that has beautiful blooms of any kind is my friend.


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